Historian to speak at SMU on evolving story
of the George W. Bush administration

Historian Melvin Leffler to talk about what memoirs reveal about the George W. Bush administration.

Melvin Leffler

DALLAS (SMU) – One of the nation’s foremost diplomatic historians will use the memoirs produced by members of George W. Bush’s administration to analyze foreign policy shaped by the 43rd president in the post-911 world.

Melvin LefflerMelvin Leffler, the Edward R. Stettinius Chair of Modern American History at the University of Virginia, will speak from 5-7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1 in Jones Great Hall at the Meadows Museum at SMU. The lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required. You can add your name to the waiting list at http://cphleffler.eventbrite.com.

Leffler’s lecture will focus on what the memoirs reveal about the motives, goals, and decision-making processes of the Bush administration. 

“As for disagreements, I shall highlight the discord in the memoirs over the basic questions of whether officials felt that Iraq was contained and whether they thought that military action made sense,” Leffler said.  “Some officials felt that Saddam was contained; others felt he was a looming threat.  Some felt that war against Iraq made sense; others felt that the dangers of war might exceed the benefits.”

The Feb. 1 event is the second produced by SMU’s new Center for Presidential History. The SMU center exists to research and advance understanding of American presidential history, primarily through two complementary methods - lectures, conferences and events on presidential history as well as presidential oral history projects. 

Director of the Center is Jeffrey Engel, an award-winning American history scholar who joined SMU on July 1, 2012, from Texas A&M University, where he served as an associate professor of history and public policy and as the Verlin and Howard Kruse ’52 Founders Professor. Engel also served as director of programming for the Scowcroft Institute for International Affairs at Texas A&M.

Find more information on the center at http://www.smu.edu/CPH/ and on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/CPHSMU.


SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools.